Tuesday, July 5, 2011

RIP: Cy Twombly

Image by Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly with Artworks at Fulton Street, 1954

My appreciate for Cy Twombly grew exponentially while living in Houston constantly visiting the Menil Collection. In addition to wandering through Renzo Piano's gallery devoted entirely to Twombly's artwork, the Menil's 2000 exhibition, Cy Twombly: The Sculpture was most memorable. My first interaction with his paintings began in undergraduate school while writing a research paper on Jean-Michel Basquiat comparing their use of text.

Cy Twombly, Poems to the Sea

Cy Twombly, Untitled, Jupiter Island, 1992

I wasn't only interested in his scrawls but also his use of white (barely white, once white, no longer white). I associated this impure neutral with the colors he must have been influenced by while living on the Mediterranean.

Cy Twombly, Untitled

Some of his paintings reminded me of penmanship exercises in elementary school with backgrounds simulating a chalk board. Their scale of the canvas engulfed me as an adult much like the daunting task of suddenly learning cursive as a child. I often compare my handwriting to his paintings, styling a signature as abstract as a Twombly line.

It's sad to see the legends go. Here is a one of the best written obituaries from the Guardian.


  1. Another art-baseball connection: every time I hear the name "Cy", I think of baseball, and I guess Twombly, too, has some connections.

    His dad, also Cy Twombly, briefly played for the White Sox: http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/t/twombcy01.shtml
    He was nicknamed Cy after the all-time great Cy Young...a nickname that apparently was extended to his son.

    Cool! Also, this piece was on the New Yorker blogs page: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2011/07/remembering-cy-twombly.html

  2. The name Cy is definitely synonymous with baseball. I had no idea about about the father connection though! Now I feel compelled to gather information for a sports and artists post. Thanks for the link!


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